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Keywords:

  • cerebral palsy;
  • magnetic resonance imaging brain scan

Objective: To review all cases of cerebral palsy (CP) that had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over a defined period of time.

Methodology: The MRI brain scans of 42 children (12 premature, 30 full-term) with CP were studied. The scans were performed at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, between January 1995 and June 1996.

Results: Abnormalities were found in 39 of the 42 scans. Five children had cortical malformations and three children had white matter hypoplasia, indicating insults during the second trimester of pregnancy. Twenty-one children had hypoxic–ischaemic lesions (eight premature, 13 full-term) with patterns of periventricular leucomalacia, subcortical lesions or cortical infarction indicating insults perinatally or in the third trimester. Only 10 children had scans that could not be categorized into these groups.

Conclusions: In this study sample of children with CP, MRI was useful in revealing underlying brain abnormalities, most of which were due to events in the third trimester or the perinatal period.